Many folks love to wax lyrical about how far plus size fashion has come in recent years, and in many ways, it has. But if you've found yourself wondering where to buy plus size clothes above a 3X as of late, you know the story isn't finished. In 2016, a plus size model above a size 20 is a household name, more indie plus retailers have been born than ever before, and plus size bloggers repeatedly land brand collaborations with established retailers. While all of this might mark tangible progress from the days of perpetual kaftans and boot-cut jeans, visibility for bodies above a size 3X (typically a U.S. 22/24) hasn't quite evolved at a comparable pace.
Oftentimes, mainstream body positive rhetoric and its accompanying plus size fashion can seem to work separately from the fat acceptance that precipitated it, regularly choosing to focus on plus size individuals in the size 12/14 range as opposed to those sizes 22 and higher. Although seeing more and more women in the former category might sometimes feel like a far cry from the size 2-dominated fashion industry of the '90s and early '00s, plus size individuals don't stop at a 12, or a 14, or a 20. So our representation and our fashion shouldn't, either.
Even though finding unique and chic clothes in sizes 3X and higher can still be incredibly soul-sucking (both online and IRL, but especially IRL), there are many rad brands out there that do make them (even if, oftentimes, the models wearing the clothes aren't too representative of the size range). Here are some of the best.
Contemporary fashion destination ELOQUII produces countless plus size gems and seems to update its arsenal with more almost on the daily. Many of the retailer's on-trend and high-quality garments are also available in sizes 26 and 28. Although you might be spending a few more bucks than you would at your favorite fast fashion destinations, the craftsmanship of these pieces makes it well worth it if and when a little splurging is possible.
This UK-based brand is known for working closely with many beloved bloggers in the online community, and always seems to be bringing together a variety of designers who manage to produce trendy items alongside winning classics. Many items are made in sizes 26 and 28, with certain styles running about a size larger than marked.
Spearheaded by force-to-reckon-with Alysse Dalessandro — fat positive writer and designer — Ready To Stare makes a whole lot of fierce T-shirts, body chains, and other fashions for the plus size community. With plus size items running up to a size 5X, it's totally possible to support a fat, empowered designer who supports the plus size community in its entirety.
Designer Shawna Farmer of Chubby Cartwheels makes all of her items by hand and up to a size 5X. What's so wonderful about this brand is how effortlessly every new collection seems to blend current trends with an alternative aesthetic. Chubby Cartwheels should fulfill every alt-babe narrative of your weird, wacky sartorial dreams.
Project Runway winner Ashley Nell Tipton is all about catering to the plus size community. This is why her editorial shoots and runways feature fatshion-loving babes of all sizes on the spectrum, while her clothing collections for JCPenney sell trendy pieces up to a size 5X. With Fashion Week-ready gems alongside wardrobe staples, there's a little something for every taste in these lines.
6. Full Beauty
Full Beauty is a plus size marketplace carrying items in sizes 12 to 44 (up to a 6 or 7X). Although not every garment comes in every size, the ones that do extend up to the 6X region are kind of a '90s mom's dream. The dress above, for instance, would look wicked cool styled with some Dr. Martens and a choker necklace.
Society+ is a haven for trendy, eye-catching plus size fashion in sizes 14 to 32. But one couldn't really expect any less from SKORCH Magazine CEO and brand founder Jessica Kane. A retailer that proves its dedication to the plus size community by regularly collaborating with bloggers and actively engaging with the community, Society+ is an empowering shopping destination.
8. Old Navy
If you want to see curve model Philomena Kwao rocking some cute staples and basics, Old Navy will actually have you covered. With plus size designs up to a 4X (or 30) — and many loose fits that might accommodate slightly larger sizes — this retailer is creating some comfortable goodies that won't break the bank.
Evans is yet another plus size marketplace bringing together a plethora of designers, many of whom are creating their pieces in sizes 26 and 28. Consider the brand an online department store for fatshionistas: A place where you might be able to find a strappy crop top for your night on the town alongside a chic coat that'll get you through the worst of winters.
ModCloth has made a name for itself as a one-stop-shop for some of the most authentic vintage recreations out there. Luckily for plus size style lovers, many of its pieces are also available up to a size 4X (or 28/30). Whether you're seeking a dress fit for a speakeasy-themed party, a wedding guest ensemble with a 1950s twist, or some day-to-day workwear that perfectly blends contemporary chicness with classic details, the retailer will have you covered.
11. Addition Elle
Although Canadian-based brand Addition Elle will often require some splurging, its pieces are high quality and typically available up to a size 26. This is definitely a destination for the fashion-forward, trend-adoring babe: The city girl wanting to make her mark on the concrete jungle.
Most of the garments found at Penningtons at available up to a size 5X (translating to a 30/32). The beauty of this retail destination is definitely the variety of its styles. Alongside trendier, working-girl-in-New-York garments, you'll find sweaters and denim that any Brooklyn hipster would likely be proud to own.
Before there were many of the plus size retailers we know and adore today, there was Torrid. A longtime fashion destination for babes sizes 10 to 30, Torrid is also known for producing some of the cutest pop culture-inspired collections out there. Be it through collaborations with Hello Kitty, Marvel, or Disney, you can always find cutesy pieces to appease every fan-kid bone in your body.
14. Courtney Noelle
Indie designer Courtney Noelle can always be counted on to produce glamorous party dresses for every fancy occasion on your calendar. Although some pieces evoke vintage details, each item preserves a contemporary feel to it. With clothing sizes extending to a 4X, many babes can hopefully find their next holiday ensemble here.
15. Ashley Stewart
Even though a lot of plus size retailers can be late to hop on the trend bandwagon, Ashley Stewart is rarely far behind the straight size world. Whether we're talking knee-high gladiator sandals or the off-the-shoulder look of summer and fall 2016, this retailer can be counted on. With many pieces being designed up to a size 32, lots of plus size fashionistas will hopefully find a home.
16. Smart Glamour
Run by owner and designer Mallorie Dunn — a strong advocate for diversity and representation in retail and media — Smart Glamour tends to win the award for most size inclusive retailer out there. With all items available in sizes XXS through 6XL and to custom measurements, literally no soul will ever be left out of SG's lovely, feminine fancies.
17. ASOS Curve
UK-based brand ASOS Curve is known as a powerhouse for all things contemporary. Although most styles are only available up to a size 24, the fit of many pieces is oversized and known to be suitable for some folks of larger sizes. Whether you're into fall 2016's ruffle, bomber jacket, or metallic trends, there are bound to be some goodies here for you.
18. Yours Clothing
Not all plus size fashionistas are lovers of all things OTT and trendy, of course. Yours Clothing — where many items are available up to a size 34 — is a perfect stop for simple but infallible basics. Although the brand plays into current trends to a degree, most pieces err on the side of "essential basics."
19. Lane Bryant
Lane Bryant has been around for quite some time, but it's its collaborations with outside designers that tend to stand out the most. The latest designer collab to hit the e-shelves brought on Christian Siriano — known for catering to plus size women in Hollywood when other designers have eschewed them. Although on the pricier side, these pieces (available up to a size 28) would make for some fabulous investments.
There is still an unbelievable amount of work to be done when it comes to inclusion, diversity, and options in the plus size fashion industry — and particularly for individuals sizes 22/24 and above. But there are some brands producing total gems, and slowly ensuring that we are not ignored any longer.
Images: Courtesy Brands